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OpenMarket: November 2009

  • Government Employee Pensions' Threat to New Jersey's Fiscal Health

    November 20, 2009
    New Jersey residents pay the highest state and local taxes in the nation, notes the New Jersey Taxpayers' Association (NJTA). And what do they get for all that money? For most New Jerseyites, not much more than residents of other states, but for government employees, the benefits are great, according to a NJTA analysis of the state's public employee compensation. For example, a police officer who retires with a $105,000 salary after 25 years of service can end up making more in retirement, after 29 years, than he or she did while working. But that's not all. Public employee pensions are a ticking time bomb that could bring fiscal catastrophe to the state.
    New Jersey's public employee pensions are under funded by billions of dollars which means there is going to be huge political pressure applied by...
  • CEI Weekly: CEI Starts Gore Debate Fundraiser

    November 20, 2009
    CEI weekly is a compilation of articles and blogs from CEI's staff. This week features the start of CEI's Pledge-a-Dollar-to-Debate Campaign. The campaign's goal is to convince Al Gore to debate about global warming by allowing individuals to pledge a dollar to Gore should he choose to debate.
  • The Economic Way of Thinking about Stimulus Packages, Part II

    November 19, 2009
    If government spending for public works is financed by taxing the citizens or borrowing from them, the citizens' power to spend and invest is curtailed to the same extent as that of the public treasury expands. No additional jobs are created.
  • "Cultlike" Union Organizing Tactics?

    November 19, 2009
    The row between the UNITE-HERE hospitality and textile union and Workers United -- which broke away from UNITE-HERE earlier this year and joined the powerful and growing Service Employees International Union (SEIU) -- has taken a bizarre and ugly turn. According to The New York Times, several UNITE-HERE organizers have complained about a practice known as "pink sheeting," in which union members are pressured to reveal private and potentially embarrassing personal information about themselves. Union organizers then allegedly use those workers' stories to present as testimonials that illustrate the kind of hardships that the union has helped its members overcome.
    More than a dozen organizers said in interviews that they had often been pressured to detail such personal anguish — sometimes under the...
  • Property Owner Fights Nashville Land Grab

    November 19, 2009
    Yesterday, Tower Investments filed a motion to dismiss the Nashville-chartered Metropolitan Housing and Development Agency's Petition for Condemnation of the company's 5.6-acre downtown property. MHDA is attempting to clear land for the proposed Music City Convention Center, the construction of which is currently projected to cost nearly $600 million. What makes this case particularly interesting is that Tower doesn't oppose the development plan per se; rather, it wants to build a hotel "in such a way that enhances and accommodates the convention center." The problem is that the development authority's master plan includes the construction of a similar...
  • “Obama Warns on Dangers of US Debt”

    November 19, 2009
    This morning I read with interest - and amazement - the above headline.  Does our president live in the same world that I inhabit?  He's worried about America's increasing indebtedness and is pushing for a massive expansion of health entitlements (aka wealth redistribution programs) and the cap-and-tax global warming initiatives (aka wealth redistribution programs) and a host of other other wealth-destroying regulatory programs. Yet, he's worried about America's growing debt? Our political system is only now perhaps emerging from a foolish policy of lowering credit standards to encourage universal home ownership.  We're now about to lower credit standards for health and energy investments.  In effect, the problems of subprime mortgages are now being universalized.  But, as in the subprime case, we're assured that these moves will actually ...
  • “I Can’t See the Objection”

    November 19, 2009
    The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind are seeking a preliminary injunction in federal court to stop ASU's plan to use Kindles in place of traditional textbooks. Their objection was based on the point that it is far from easy for a blind individual to access the Navigation Features of this device.  And they're right - the "Home Menu" lists the books stored but that order changes as soon as they're accessed and that list is not available on audio.  The titles, for example, aren't read aloud. But, the early versions of any technology are often clumsy.  Books, after all, have long been less accessible to the visually handicapped.  This is not unusual; many visual...
  • Gun Control Laws Empower Pirates and Terrorists!

    November 19, 2009
    As John Lott has so effectively demonstrated time and time again, widespread citizen gun possession is an effective way of increasing public safety. His policy suggestions have never been more relevant than in today's world where the military has disarmed its troops exposing them to the horrors recently experienced in Camp Hood, where U.S. ships remain far too exposed to pirate attacks. Yet, an article in the Washington Times today quotes Roger Middleton, a piracy specialist at the London-based Chatham House: "the...
  • More cash/ Fewer clunkers

    November 19, 2009
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  • Reid Health Care Bill Adds New Tax Increases, Costs Twice As Much As Promised

    November 19, 2009
    The health care "reform" bill drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid adds new tax increases, and costs twice as much as its promised $849 billion price tag. The tax increases (in billions) include: 1. 40% excise tax on health coverage in excess of $8,500 (individuals) / $23,000 (families). . . 2. Additional 0.5% Medicare (Hospital Insurance) tax on wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) – begins in 2013 – $54 B tax increase 3. Impose annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs – begins in 2010 – $22 B tax increase 4. Impose annual fee on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices – begins in...

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